The first step in becoming a foster parent is learning the requirements needed to qualify to be a foster caregiver. These qualifications will help you in determining whether you can apply for a chance to become a foster parent and what you need to do if you have not met the minimum criteria.
Foster carers must be at least 21 years old and pass all the background clearances conducted by the hiring agency. To ascertain that you will be in a position to offer the best support for the foster children, you need to be in good physical and mental health. You will also be required to show dependability and tolerance as some of the children may be vulnerable and need special care.
As you prepare to contact a foster care agency for approval to be a foster parent, you need to get in touch with foster parents to learn more about their experience. For the potential foster carers who cannot access an adoptive family, there are various online communities and social media platforms where parents discuss their challenges and what they do to overcome them in the process of foster care. The information received in person or online on how to become a foster carer will help you determine whether you are willing to take up the task or not.
Contact a Local Foster Agency
After you have gathered enough information and you feel that you qualify to be a foster parent, you need to contact a foster agency, either public or private, for the way forward. The process of becoming a foster carer after reaching a foster organisation may take up to twelve weeks. Foster care agencies will visit your home five or six times within the twelve weeks period to interview all family members, check whether the house is safe for the children and farther explain your responsibilities as a foster caregiver. These agencies will also offer detailed training on how to handle foster children and help you identify support services which may come in handy after adoption.
After you have gone through your pre-service training and pre-screening, you finally get to meet your caseworker. During the interview with the caseworker, you need to be open, honest and show your dedication to being to being a foster parent. After meeting and finalising the meeting with your caseworker, the following are expected from you:
- Respond to caseworker’s requests in an honest manner and required time. Documents or information requested by the case worker should also be availed promptly.
- Give an assurance to maintain the confidentiality of the children and details surrounding their family during and after foster care.
- Accommodate your caregiver whenever a criminal background or inspection checks need to be done at your home.
Your caseworker will then take his or her time after receiving all the required information from you to make a recommendation. This period can take up to a year after your first contact with the agency, and you should be available to provide any farther information that the organisation may need.
After your application is accepted, the agency will notify you for you to make the necessary preparations to welcome your foster child. Ensure that you have all the safety features in your home as required by the foster agency like fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. A room for your foster child should also be well organised as you prepare to welcome your guest for an extended time in your home. Ensure that you contact your agency for any clarification regarding your role as a foster parent.